Growing Up in Africa

There is plenty that can happen in an African context when growing up that shapes a person into who they become later in life. There are several influences and all this come together to contribute to the general well being of the person and thus affect their personality.

Growing up as an African your parents were super heroes whose words were bond and the law, they seldom admitted to making mistakes and only the grannies could put them to order which was very rare and such a delight to see, albeit secretly. No matter how old you are the saying “once you’re under my roof you’d do as I say” became cliche.

Most children in the Africans context are brought up the old fashioned way with the underlying tenets of spare the rod spoil the child and none of the current cosmopolitan cacophony of child rights and abuse etc. Children were brought up by the whole community not only by biological parents and that kept you on your toes.

Communal living meant that respect is a big deal especially to anybody older than you. your ldren went about greeting any older person they met in the streets because you didn’t know who was family and who was not so just greeted everybody.

Being in school was so important that there was no way you could fail in school because your parents had expectations for the fees they were paying and these expectations had to be met.

Against this background and more this anthology presents a series of stories with these traits underlying the African upbringing and how these traits affect various individuals in their journey though life.

Growing up and responsibility in the African context is not just ascribed but it is a hard acquired process that begins from childhood into adulthood. A child is introduced into responsibility when older children are tasked to care of younger ones as a system of baby sitting whilst parents go about their duties. Anything goes wrong and these older children take the blame for whatever it is.

These children grow into responsible adults with management skills already acquired from home and the formal education just strengthens what they know. In the same vein such relationships serve as foundations to adult inter personal relationships between same sex and the opposite sex, founding the basis for official, informal or even marriage relationships.

As you go through these shared experiences it is most likely you will identify with the stories and we sure hope you will do and be encouraged to share your stories too.

Tell you story too.

It begins with YOU!

* this was written as a foreword for the book Growing Up In Africa.  For a copy please go to


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